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Church of St Thomas of Canterbury

A Grade II* Listed Building in Brentwood, Essex

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Latitude: 51.6197 / 51°37'10"N

Longitude: 0.3047 / 0°18'17"E

OS Eastings: 559650

OS Northings: 193722

OS Grid: TQ596937

Mapcode National: GBR XN.PHG

Mapcode Global: VHHN3.7KG6

Plus Code: 9F32J893+VV

Entry Name: Church of St Thomas of Canterbury

Listing Date: 20 February 1976

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1197244

English Heritage Legacy ID: 373530

Location: Brentwood, Essex, CM14

County: Essex

District: Brentwood

Electoral Ward/Division: Brentwood South

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Brentwood

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Brentwood St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

Tagged with: Church building

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723-1/12/120 (South West side)
20/02/76 Church of St Thomas of Canterbury


Parish church. 1881-1887. By EC Lee. Brick, faced with random
split flint, pebbles and stone fragments with stone dressings.
Roofs of handmade clay tiles.
EXTERIOR: buttresses expanded at base with rounded section.
Nave and rectangular choir, both with side aisles, tower
containing N door abutted to NW corner. Nave of 6 bays plus
tribunal, aisles 7 bays, choir and aisles 4 bays. N elevation,
W-E, projecting tower with angle buttresses, gabled ground
floor porch, pointed arch with keeled rolls and leaf and fruit
enrichment. Door of 2 leaves, boarded with iron strap hinges,
wrought-iron gates with architect's name stamped into lower
rail of decorative tympanum. Above, blind arcade of 5 lancets
with trefoiled heads, crenellated parapet with corner stair
turrets with spirelets, principal octagonal spire with
traceried lucarnes at base. Spire and spirelets shingled. Nave
and aisle bays each have 2 lancet clerestory windows with
linking hood mould, moulded parapet. Aisle windows have 4
grouped lancets, trefoil headed as a rectangular unit, between
bays are buttresses of rounded section with decorative stone
band and lower linking band along elevation. Nave-choir
junction, flying buttress continued to roof apex with pierced
buttress and bellcote. Choir bays narrower than nave, each
with single clerestorey lancet window and linking hood mould,
parapet has blind trefoils, aisle, single lancets with
cinquefoil tracery, central buttress similar to those for nave
but elaborated, similar buttress at E end and coping link to
nave buttress. Both buttresses gabled. S elevation, W-E,
similar to N elevation, E end has a transept vestry and organ
chamber with gabled buttresses, tall, narrow lancet window and
paired lancet roof vents. Door to E under lean-to porch,
doorway segment headed and moulded with inner flattened ogee
door head, 3 semi-basement, pointed arched windows in
rectangular surrounds. To the W of the vestry, part of the S
elevation is obscured by C20 foyer and church hall. E
elevation, tall buttressed nave with high triple lancets,
sills level with those of clerestory, sexfoiled roundel above
with figure of Christ the King. N aisle wall has traceried
window, 2 round-headed trefoiled lights with cinque-foil
roundel above. S aisle wall has a trefoiled lancet window, a
pair of low stone bands cross the facade. Behind on S side,
organ vestry and porch seen. W elevation, most elaborate, nave
has flanking stair towers with conical caps and slit vents,
between, 4 grouped lancet windows under moulded pointed arch.
Exterior walkway between doorways from stair tower. Trefoiled
vent in gable above. Ground floor, triple arched canopy, outer
blind, central S door with canopy corbelled from simple shaft,
doorway has mouldings enriched with nail-head decoration,
tympanum, Christ in Majesty and, below, panel of wise and
foolish virgins. Flanking central doorway, figures of
evangelists, 2 each side under castellated canopies and
standing on drums with appropriate symbols below on splays. 2
relief panels of, N, martyrdom of St Thomas a Becket, S,
scourging of King Henry II at Becket's tomb (both now
defaced). Door of 2 leaves, each framed with boarded panels
and iron strap hinges. S aisle wall gabled with upper lancet
window and ground floor, pointed arched doorway, door of 2
leaves with iron strap hinges. N aisle wall as straight link
to tower with blind decorative parapet paired upper lancet
windows. 2 separate lancets, below. Ground floor, projecting
porch with boarded door, foundation stone, 1881. Tower at N
end, elevations similar on each face to N side but no ground
floor doorway and no blind arcade above. W elevation has
central lancet window with trefoiled head and mid-height
shield. A low double stone band stretches across the whole
elevation and buttresses are rounded at their bases.
INTERIOR: nave arcade of round piers and round capitals -
alternate piers have attached colonnettes, arches pointed with
complex mouldings. Clerestory windows have wall shafts
supporting deep arched-braced roof with laterally braced
`crown-posts' and in-pitch side purlins. Common rafters of
seven cants form boarded ceiling. Aisle windows have splayed
sides with linking wall moulding and semicircular rear-arches.
Aisle roofs asymmetric lean-to form with outer deep arched
braces and collars with side purlin. Inner wall posts support
collars with braces having pierced spandrels. Nave W end has
blind trefoiled wall arcade and central wooden interior door
porch. Tribunal set upon own arch. Adjacent alabaster font
with 12 engaged lower shafts and wrought-iron canopy with
crane. Nave, E end, choir screen and gates of wrought-iron on
alabaster wall with nail-head decoration. Alabaster pulpit
with trefoil pierced blind arcade. Choir elevated from nave,
arcade piers of laterally coupled shafts. Waggon-vaulted roof
with sun-burst and metal floral bosses. Tall Crucifixion
reredos, wrought-iron parclose screens. S side - round arched
sedilia and organ with entry through wrought-iron gates from S
aisle. N side, niche with compound trefoil and 2-centred arch.
There is stained glass in many windows. W window, martyrdom of
St Thomas, N aisle, Old Testament figures, S aisle, saints.
Brass at W end of N aisle from earlier chapel of St Thomas to
Johanes Parker, 1673 with a shield of arms and St George and
the Dragon.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the church was built to replace a chapel of
1835 on the same site which became a parish church in 1873
when Brentwood achieved independence fron South Weald. Earlier
still, the chapel of St Thomas was the now ruined building in
the High Street (qv) said to have been first built c1221. The
architect, EC Lee designed the nearby Church of St Paul (qv),
Bentley Common of 1878.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Essex: 1965-: 101).

Listing NGR: TQ5965093722

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